Writers’ strike ripple effects starting to be felt

As the Hollywood writers’ strike enters its second month, Yahoo Finance Live’s Akiko Fujita examines how WGA members, business owners, and LA’s economy are all feeling the effects.

Video Transcript

Meantime, the Hollywood writers’ strike entering its second month. And with production on shows and movies at a halt, the financial consequences are rippling through the economy in Los Angeles. Akiko Fujita has a closer look straight from the picket lines in LA.



We deserve to live here with dignity.

One, two, three, four! Stop the strike, and pay us more!

AKIKO FUJITA: One month on, no resolution in sight. The battle between writers and studios at a standstill.

HALEY HARRIS: I’m out here because the companies are refusing to treat us like people, essentially, is what it comes down to.

AKIKO FUJITA: More than 11,000 members of the Writers’ Guild remain on the picket lines. Those like Haley Harris off the job to ensure job stability in the future.

Are you worried the longer this continues, what this means for your way of living, if you’re able to survive, do you have enough savings?

HALEY HARRIS: Well, unfortunately, the companies have trained a work population that is very used to being unemployed. That is, very used to picking up second and third jobs just to make ends meet.

AKIKO FUJITA: The strike has jolted every facet of the economy here. Production has been shut down, business stalled. The fallout estimated to top $3 billion.

PAM ELYEA: Baby carriages. You know, baby carriages are hugely popular. And they’re very specific to a certain time period.

AKIKO FUJITA: Pam Elyea’s prophouse History for Hire builds the vision for Hollywood’s biggest movies.

PAM ELYEA: This was on “Anchorman,” which we really loved doing. This is the style that we used on “Fablemans.” This is a prop that we used on the first movie we ever did, “Platoon.”

AKIKO FUJITA: She’s already laid off four people.

PAM ELYEA: There’s not a lot of other options for us. So what we do during this time when we’re shut down is, we work on our stock, we maintain it, but every week, we’re losing money. Every month, we’re losing money on this. And we really estimate the strike will at least go on to the end of September or possibly the end of the year.

AKIKO FUJITA: It could get worse. Roughly 38,000 jobs were cut during the last writer’s strike in 2007. The economic loss? $2 billion, according to the Milken Institute. Today, California already has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

PAM ELYEA: I’m a big believer that you solve problems not by stopping forward motion, that you solve them together and that we all work on it. May the writers get what they want and what they need, but there’s all these below the line people that are not going to benefit from this strike. And it’s just going to cause them a lot of pain that will take them months and years to catch up from.

AKIKO FUJITA: The writers say they’re ready for the long haul.

CHRIS KEYSER: At the heart of all of these negotiations is the fact that the writing profession is not financially tenable anymore. Our members have, for example, in television, seen their wages reduced by 24% in the last 10 years and features by 14% in the last five years, even though the companies are making hundreds of billions of dollars.

AKIKO FUJITA: The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers say, member companies remain united in their desire to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial to writers and the health and longevity of the industry and to avoid hardships to the thousands of employees who depend on the industry for their livelihoods. Patrick M. Verrone helped negotiate an end to the last strike, which dragged on for 100 days. He argues this one is more critical.

PATRICK M. VERRONE: We didn’t even have the name streaming. In those days, Amazon sold books, and Netflix sent out DVDs in the mail. In the 15 years since then, we’ve seen their business model evolve. We’ve seen it evolve on our backs. And the way that we’ve been paid and the way that you compare the way we were paid in the old days in broadcast and cable, it’s inferior.

AKIKO FUJITA: A big reason why writers say they remain united in their efforts, even if the financial hits pile up.